I was hoping to bring everyone an update on my Audi Drift Sport D-Mac S1 build, but unfortunately other circumstances have slowed progress down. As you may already know, my D-Mac 240 was recently destroyed, so let’s take a look at what happened at Round 3 of the Irish Drift Championship…
IDC ‘Global Warfare’ is an invitational event that was held at Mondello Park, and for this round of the series the D-Mac 240 would provide an invited driver with a competitive car to use to try and beat the Irish on home soil.
The 240 has gone through many upgrades since we first built it, but to make it more competitive for this season we fitted it with a brand new BC 2JZ. I always try to turn up to events with an improvement of some sort made to the car.
As the Nissan would be running on sticky Achilles tyres for this particular event, we’d upped the power to 605hp, but as we soon found out that also meant that it could hit things faster…
Which is exactly what happened – on only the fifth lap of Friday practice. Following an 80mph entry at Turn 1, the car hit a concrete wall and basically pancaked the whole side of the car. Then the chase driver ran into its rear to really finish it off.
The damage caused was surprising to say the least. The valance separated from the bulkhead, which separated from a very crumpled wiper panel caused by movement of the A pillar. Amazingly, the strut tower flexed inwards, wrapping itself around the Turbosmart wastegate (and forming a perfect wastegate-shaped indentation) and bending the exhaust manifold, downpipe and intercooler piping before returning to almost its stock position. The Mishimoto radiator was crushed at the bottom by the chassis rail, but the intercooler survived with only bent brackets.
Suspension-wise, things were not good either, and basically 50 per cent of the car’s handling gear was destroyed. My right-hand side DMac/AVO front mono-tube coilover snapped, as did the DMac steering angle lower control arm, inner tie rod, rack spacer and steering rack. The front crossmember was also destroyed, and the same could be said for the tension rod bracket and the right front Work Seeker CX wheel. Things weren’t much better in the rear with the 240’s DMac LCA, toe and camber arms bent, the spindle cracked in half, brake disk broken, and shock bent. The CV on my Driveshaft Shop 1000hp axle was sitting at a crazy angle after the impact, but it did survive.
I measured floor protrusion into the cockpit at 18 inches and the gearbox was now visible from the side of the car. If this had been a right-hand drive car, I’m pretty sure that serious driver’s leg injuries would have occurred. This Nissan was built to a very high standard and it was in fact the rollcage triangulation from the A pillar bar to the strut tower that prevented the wheel assembly protruding further, or possibly even entering the car. When the 240 hit, the wheel assembly was pinned between the wall and the car and basically kept going through the sheet metal until the rollcage spat it back out. Amazingly, the spindle and front brakes were reusable.
In comparison, the left-hand side mechanicals of the car came away largely unscathed. I could go on about the panel damage, but basically every panel including the roof, floor, tunnel and bulkhead were either bent or broken. Only the driver’s door, front fender, rear fender and side-skirt escaped damage.
Unfortunately, the rear brake caliper burst out through the brand new rear Work Seeker CX wheel. It was only four laps old – may it rest in pieces.
The chase car hit to the rear only added to the misery with the fuel tank being impacted and the brand new diffuser totally destroyed.
So here’s the culprit, Mr. Robbie Nishida. Now, before anyone thinks there might be some bad feeling from me towards Robbie, there really isn’t. The most important thing was that he wasn’t injured in any way, and I know he wouldn’t intentionally wreck my car. Robbie and I go way back to when we were teammates at Falken Tire in 2007, and he is a great guy. I will admit though, after the dust had settled and knowing he was perfectly okay, I was very disappointed with what had happened. I think I would have been more accepting if it’d happened on Sunday evening in the semi-final, but being the fifth lap of Friday practice made it hard to swallow. It’s funny to think that I refused to loan the car if Daigo was driving as he’s wrecked every car he has borrowed including one on this weekend in the main competition. But yet, the outcome remained the same, and we were left to ponder what to do next…The Rebuild
There were two options: rebuild the car as soon as possible so it could fulfil its obligations as a rental car for future rounds of this year’s IDC, or forget about it until the off season. As you can see, we went with the first option. There really wasn’t the budget for this, so it’s taken some away from the D-Mac S1 build which makes me sad. My team and I turned the new chassis around in just three weeks, which I think was a great achievement.
The new D-Mac 240 started out life as a right-hand drive Silvia as left-hand drive cars are extremely rare over here in Ireland. To be honest, the RHD to LHD conversion was a pain in the ass and accounted for a lot of tedious work to ensure we didn’t end up with the steering wheel or pedals in weird positions or anything like that. The car’s first appearance was at a King of Europe event at Lydden Hill where it was driven by Sultan Al-Qassimi, but there was no time for paint or vinyl. The finished product in its full MCNSport livery was ready for the final round of the Irish Drift Championship, where I decided to drive it myself.
The new D-Mac 240 has a full BN Blister bodykit and looks so damn good! BN Sports just screams ‘drift car’ to me. To continue my philosophy of improving the car every time it goes out, we fitted a new larger fuel rail and took a trip to West Coast Performance for a ECU re-map which raised the horsepower up to 625 for the event.
I was looking forward to competing against Robbie and Daigo again as their own cars had been shipped over, but unfortunately what they sent were below par and the two spent more time broken in the pits than on track. Hopefully they’ll take it a bit more seriously next time.
As the practice sessions went on I was quickly getting to grips with the car and making improvements along the way. We had good speed for Turn 1, but I was struggling with the gearing at Turn 2. I didn’t have the power to pull fourth gear on the tighter turn so had to down-change to third, but the ratio gap was too big which resulted in a lot of limiter bashing.
Radio problems were wrecking my head, and it seemed like everyone was on the same frequency. Communication between my spotter and I became non-existent which hindered progress massively.
With the gearing problems it was difficult for me to get into a real rhythm and hit my marks. I was really having to stretch out the second half of the course as the wheel speed got too close to the vehicle speed.
That perfect outside line was evading me more often than not. I knew a high-grip setup would be essential against the competition, so we were weighing up the pros and cons between keeping the grip levels high and keeping outright speed, or loosening the car up and trading speed for line. This was something that really irritated me as I am used to having all the bells and whistles on my own cars.
With Saturday’s practice over, I was left to reflect on the journey between Round 3 and Round 5 of the IDC. It was an achievement for us to even get to the point we were at, and the fans that turned out in record numbers seemed to love the 240 and its new livery.Game Day
So game day had arrived on my first and last event of the season; it’s been a very busy year for me off track, so I haven’t had much opportunity to drive. But I’d like to thank all my sponsors that made this possible and were there to help us all season and through the rebuild. Sparco really stepped up and supplied me with a new race suit, shoes and gloves to match the crazy cream and purple livery
Practice started well, but the track had really changed from the day before which meant chasing the setup. The sun was blazing down on the Mondello tarmac and we were all set for an amazing event.
Competition was fierce with drivers from all over the world ready to do battle; this really is the must-attend drift competition in Europe. Could the Irish remain undefeated or would we have our first foreign winner? I was ready to go all-out to keep the streak alive – but the D-Mac 240 wasn’t. Towards the end of practice the car hesitated and started to misfire on the start straight. The misfire continued to get worse for the last four laps of practice, which led straight into qualifying. Things were starting to go wrong – right when I didn’t need it.
No amount of tinkering in the pits could solve the misfire and I lined up for qualifying hopeful to just make it into the Top 32. After spending all the time in the pits trying to solve the misfire, pulling up to the line at the very last minute with a high-grip setup and an underpowered car was not ideal. Even after loosening up the car for my second qualifying run I could only manage 21st position. In the show, yes, but I was obviously frustrated with the run of bad luck.
The time between qualifying and the main event was spent searching for the misfire and swapping in all the parts from my friend’s 2JZ. We tried coils, plugs, igniters and sensors – you name it, we changed it! As I write this, I can reveal that partially blocked injectors – most likely a result of debris getting into the fuel line or rail from the frenzied rebuild – was the culprit, and really we had no hope of fixing it at the track. Ultimately, I was eliminated at the Top 32 stage of the competition as the misfire got so bad the 2JZ could barely spin the wheels.
What a hectic end to the drift season it has been. It was nice to get back out on the track, but the bad luck seemed to follow us. A new engine and gearbox package is already in the works for 2016 and it will really cement the D-Mac 240 as the world’s greatest drift rental car. Even more exciting is that the Audi Drift Sport D-Mac S1 is waiting in the wings and I’ll be back with an update on that very soon…
Until next time, Speedhunters!